Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/338

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


332 Southern Historical Society Papers.

North Carolina, will be made a prisoner. I will give all I have to get her home ! "

I saw the intense anguish of the father, and learning that he could not get a pass to go through Petersburg, I said :

" Mr. T , if you will pay my expenses, I will have your daugh- ter here in two days."

He overwhelmed me with thanks, crammed my pockets full of Confederate notes, filled my haversack with rations for several days, and I left next morning for Petersburg. The train not being allowed to enter the city, we had to make a mile or more in a conveyance of some kind at an exorbitant price. Learning that the Weldon train ran only at night for fear of the Yankee batteries which were alarm- ingly near, I had time to inspect the city. I found here a marked contrast to Richmond. As I passed along its streets viewing the marks of shot and shell on every side, hearing now and then the heavy, sullen boom of the enemy's guns, seeing on every hand the presence of war, I noticed its business men had, nevertheless, a calm, determined look. Its streets were filled with women and children, who seemed to know no fear, though at any moment a shrieking shell might dash among them, but each eye would turn in loving con- fidence to the Confederate flag which floated over the headquarters of General Lee, feeling that they were secure as long as he was there.

That night, when all was quiet and darkness reigned, with not a light to be seen, our train quietly slipped out of the city like a blockade-runner passing the batteries. The passengers viewed in silence the flashing of the guns as they were trying to locate the train. It was a moment of intense excitement, but on we crept until at last the captain came along with a lantern and said, "All right!" and we breathed more freely; but from the proximity of the batteries, I surmised that it would not be " all right ' ' many days hence.

Hastening on my journey, I found the young lady, and telling her she must face the Yankee batteries if she would see her home, I found her even enthusiastic at the idea, and we hastily left, though under protest of her friends.

Returning the same route which, indeed, was the only one now left we approached to within five miles of Petersburg and waited for darkness. The lights were again extinguished, the passengers warned to tuck their heads low, which in many cases was done by lying flat on the floor, and then we began the ordeal, moving very